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Egypt's court overturns telecom news monitoring

Cairo, November 27, 2010

A Cairo court on Saturday overturned the Egyptian telecoms regulator's decision to monitor news feeds on mobile phones ahead of elections, Egypt's official news agency Mena said on Saturday.

The court also cancelled another decision by the telecoms regulator requiring satellite broadcast firms to have a special license to provide their services to mobile phones.

"The State Council Administrative Court has on its Saturday session ... cancelled the national telecoms regulator's decision that the content of news feeds sent to mobile phones has to be subjected to monitoring," Mena said, quoting the Cairo Administrative Court decision.

"The court has also cancelled the condition that companies and entities desiring to offer news services through mobile phones' messages to get licences and approvals from the national telecoms regulator," Mena added.

The regulators' decisions were taken in October and were shortly followed by another one preventing satellite broadcast firms from offering live feeds to private TV channels.

Critics have seen the decisions as bound to hamper reporting in the run-up to the parliamentary vote that will take place on Sunday and a 2011 presidential election.

On Friday, two Egyptian opposition pages on the social network site Facebook were deleted from the Internet for a while before they were restored after discussions with the site's administrators.-Reuters




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